University or apprenticeship?

Advice from educationsuisse on education in Switzerland

University or apprenticeship? These are two different education pathways, which are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, the Swiss education system is characterised by a high degree of flexibility. Consequently, there are many ways to begin or to change to a different education programme. The educational opportunities are highly diverse. An overview of the Swiss education system can be found on our website

Anyone who wishes to study in Switzerland with a foreign high school diploma, should inquire about the admission requirements of the universities well in advance; sometimes admission fails because a basic subject is missing. The next step is to find the right field of study. The swissuniversities website, can be of some benefit here. Many universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education organise information days, which usually take place in autumn or winter. Several universities also have their own study counselling offices.

Those who would like to complete an apprenticeship after compulsory schooling or high school, can choose from around 250 occupations. The official website of the Swiss Career and Academic Studies Consulting,, offers a wealth of information such as job descriptions, education descriptions, tips and much more. Once the area of interest has been defined, trial apprenticeships (1-5 days) in an enterprise are a suitable way of receiving an insight into the profession. One normally starts finding an apprenticeship at least a year before commencement of the apprenticeship. Sometimes companies require aptitude tests (such as Multicheck), which must be attached to the application.

A so-called bridge year can be a good interim solution for those who are still uncertain about their career choice. Such additional school years of pre-vocational training years are organised in all cantons.

In order to successfully complete an education in Switzerland, sufficient knowledge of a national language is important. A good command of English is an advantage, but by no means enough. Only a few university-level degree programmes (Master’s) are offered entirely in English.


Information sheets on individual topics, general information and personal advice, also on career and academic choices, can be obtained from educationsuisse:, Tel. +41 (0) 31 356 61 04. Our employees speak German, French, Italian, English and Spanish.

Comments (2)
  • Wave Dancer
    Wave Dancer at 24.11.2018
    Ich kann aus eigener Erfahrung den Weg über die Berufslehre mit anschliessendem Studium empfehlen. Den meisten reinen Studienabgängern fehlt heute meist der Bezug zum richtigen Leben! Dazu sind Sie oft zu weich und bereits ideologisch konditioniert, man könnte auch sagen, verseucht. Trotzdem sind dies dann Leute die mehr oder weniger direkt aus den Unis in die Politik oder mit Entscheidungsfunktionen in die Wirtschaft strömen. Das ist nicht gut! Ich habe während meiner beruflichen Laufbahn mehr sogenannt akademisch Gebildete, auf Grund der Unfähigkeit, ihr theoretisches Wissen in praktischen Nutzen zu wandeln, entlassen, als Arbeiter!
    Show Translation
    • Hansjörg Romer
      Hansjörg Romer at 04.12.2018
      Wow.... Great assessment... :-) I have often dismissed academic individuals, also, because of their lack of actual life learning or hands on application, to problem solving etc. An example was a heated discussion with a recent university graduate, demanding everyone adopt Socialist/Communist ideas(He labeled himself a "Progressive" thinker). I tried to explain that true Communism only functions when is a small social ONLY group- Indian Tribes, Religious Cults, etc. Never as a political or governmental type. And even in those instances, there is a leader, and his family that make the majority of the rules and laws, for others to follow; and that leading family have/acquire more food, larger living quarters, and better clothing/jewelry. If true "communism" then ALL persons would have the same access to food, clothing, shelter etc. None of any recent examples of this type of government have shown any actual relation to communism in government. All have been examples of a very powerful leader, amassing wealth, and dictating rules for all others to follow, for they are above the rule of their own law. These have been examples of a Dictatorship or Monarchy. Humans are naturally selfish and self serving; and the reason for the failure of all ideals of Socialism or Communism. Even in current examples of Socialism, there are leaders, with amassed wealth, and power, far above the average citizen, whom pay for this wealth thru gun enforced taxation, and laws biased towards those in office/power, to maintain their wealth and power. And when finished with this discussion, the university educated man responded with "We need to go after the corporations, and force them to pay more taxes....." I responded with "So when these Corporations increase the costs of their goods and services to you, and the rest of society, for the increased costs of the additional tax burden, you are ok with paying double taxation for government to be strong enough to force corporations to pay more taxes; and triple the price for a gallon of milk and double the price for your toyota?".... None of them seems to be able to understand how economics works, or what government actual is..... Very sad.
      Show Translation

Write new comment

Comments are approved within one to three days. The editorial team reserves the right not to publish discriminatory, racist, defamatory or inflammatory comments. Our detailed comment rules are available here.

For hundreds of churches in Switzerland the question is whether they should be demolished, sold, rented out or put to a completely different use....

Read more

A year before the elections, the desire of many politicians to get their fingers burnt by the most heated dossier in federal Bern has noticeably...

Read more

The summer of 2018 was Switzerland’s hottest since 1864. It was not only hotter than the previous record summer of 2003, but also exceptionally dry....

Read more

The printed book lives on

Digitalisation shook the Swiss book market and led to a decline in sales. But the book world is enduring the storms thanks to the passion and...

Read more

Auslandschweizer Organisation
Alpenstrasse 26
3006 Bern, Schweiz

tel +41 31 356 61 10
fax +41 31 356 61 01